Smorgasbord Health Column 2022 – The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Pre-Weight Loss – Willpower booster by Sally Cronin

Part two of the Detox can be found here: Part Two – Eat food your body recognises…and can work with!

The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Pre-Weight Loss Willpower Booster

This is the most popular time of year for people to decide to improve their diet and lifestyle… Apart from New Year resolutions, there is something compelling about starting a new year with a fresh perspective.

This week a focus on weight loss whether it is 10lbs or 100lbs.. beginning the process with a gentle detox rather than straight in to a highly restrictive diet programme is a very much more sensible way to approach this sometimes life changing event.

Your body needs nourishment while it loses weight and eathing enough of the right foods is key.

As you will have seen in the previous two posts, there is no lack of food in the gentle detox but it is more about shedding some persistent additions to the daily eating plan that need to be as important as shedding the pounds.

Because, if you don’t lose destructive eating habits, then you will be entering a cycle of weight loss and weight gain that will ultimately see your weight balloon as mine did.

This is me at age 42 – 330lbs – 27 years ago.

One of the hardest things that I ever did, was give up sugar 23 years ago… not forever, but certainly for the two years that it took me to lose 150lbs. I still do it periodically when I can see my weight creeping back up again. After being so obese for many years my body is determined to regain ‘lbs’ it has lost and it is still a struggle for me to stay at a reasonably healthy weight.

Completing this gentle detox two or three times a year has certainly helped me to get back to basics and curb my very strong sugar cravings. Once I start, I find it difficult to stop. I discovered when I began working with clients 24 years ago that I was not alone in this.

I often would have this discussion with my clients who felt that there was no way that they could give up one or more of these because they LOVED THEM’.

This is a little tip – if you keep a food diary for a week, and after seven days review the food that you have eaten and attach the emotion ‘LOVE’ to certain items, you are probably eating too much of that particular food . If the food is sugary in nature then you are also addicted to it.

You might admire, covet, desire to have an object or type of food but to LOVE something implies that there is a chance of reciprocation, that the object of your love is a live, warm entity such as a parent, partner, child, dog, rabbit. I am afraid that all you will get from that bar of chocolate you are eating every day is extra weight around your middle, clogged arteries and indigestion. You can have a relationship with chocolate, but like many that we enter into, it is healthier when experienced in small amounts from time to time.

Gastric band surgery

It is no secret that I am not an advocate for weight loss surgery as I believe that it is ‘surgically implanted willpower’. As we have become addicted to fast foods and sugar, we have also become addicted to the fast fix. It took me 18 months to lose 11 stone (150lbs) nearly 25 years ago. Whilst I am not as slim today – I am still 10 stone (140lbs) lighter than I was in the beginning. I also do not have the obesity related health problems I had then, such as very high blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol. Neither do I need to take any prescribed medications for those health issues.

Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure are some of the future health problems that they believe will be alleviated by giving at risk obese patients the surgery which is frankly concerning.

What is even more worrying is that whilst there may be valid psychological reasons for such radical measures on medical advice, the private sector is making millions offering this surgery to those with enough money to buy into the marketing. The NHS in the UK is now spending (approx)  £85 million annually (2012 figures) on obesity related surgery, whilst patients with life threatening diseases such as cancer cannot receive the drugs they need to extend their life, or more disturbing possibly put them into remission.

In the USA approximately 300,000 bariatric surgeries are completed annually, with around 5000 in the UK… However in recent years outside of Covid years, it has become a lucrative private business in certain European countries and Mexico with cut rates but possible additional risk factors as it is largely unregulated.

When considering any surgery you should always research the benefits and the risks including bariatric surgery for obesity.

Post-operative risks that need to be considered.

  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Gastric band displacement
  • Gallstones (common with anyone who has lost a great deal of weight in a short space of time -even without surgery as I did as you have been on a high fat diet for an extended period of time – Your own fat)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Leak in the gut
  • Blocked Gut
  • Malnutrition
  • Excess skin (with rapid weight loss, muscle is also lost and this results in loose skin, particularly if dehydration and lack of exercise plays their part)
  • As with any operation there is a risk of dying..

SourceNHS Gastric Band Surgery risks

This may seem harsh, but my own experience of obesity is that it is self-inflicted. Of course there are enabling factors – the availability of fast and processed foods, sugar addiction and manufacturers cashing in on our taste buds, but at the end of the day it is actually about our own choices and decisions.

If you read the recommendations for eating following gastric surgery you will understand why a patient can lose 10 stone in a year.

  • Four weeks of liquid diet
  • a further two on pureed food
  •  the rest of their lives on three small meals a day
  •  minimum snacking
  •  no fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise,
  • eating and chewing slowly
  • plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with lean protein.

I have worked with a number of clients post weight-loss surgery and found that they had received little or no nutritional counselling (or any that stuck), and had resumed their poor eating habits that had caused their obesity in the first place. A bar of chocolate fits well into a shrunken stomach and saves a lot of hassle preparing a small healthy meal!

Non Surgical Intervention.

So that was the extreme end of the willpower spectrum. But if you are embarking on this gentle detox or any healthy weight loss programme, then perhaps you might consider this formula that I have found very successful for myself and those I have worked with.



If you are contemplating anything major in your life that you want to succeed, you cannot approach with a wishy-washy attitude and wing it. This applies to any work, personal or health related project. A decision is not a ‘maybe’ a ‘might’ or ‘perhaps’ it is a firm commitment to do something. It is not anI should do this’ it is an ‘I Must do this’.

So having decided you are going to embark on a healthier lifestyle then you need some incentive to stick to that decision to the end.

Vision – Where do you want to be in six weeks’ time or six months?

You want to be healthier, slimmer, more energetic, and able to do more activities. Well this is where your imagination comes in and you need to see yourself at the end of all this hard work looking and feeling fantastic and that the time spent achieving it was worth it.

To help this process it is a good idea to draw up a balance sheet.

On one side the negative impact your current health is having on your life. Why you feel that you need to undertake this project. Perhaps you are too overweight to keep up with your children or grandchildren, you have painful knees and hip joints that are feeling the strain or you have high Blood Pressure, LDL (harmful cholesterol) levels or High blood sugar that could indicate that you are pre-diabetic.

It might be that activities that you were passionate about are now not possible because of your fitness levels. You get the idea. It doesn’t matter – what is important is that you are really clear about why you want to improve your health and lifestyle.

The other side of the balance sheet is the positive impact you expect from working hard over the next six weeks or longer. It is where you visualise what you will be able to accomplish, enjoy and participate in once you have completed the job. This is your reward for making a decision and sticking to it.


This is where the determination comes into it. Having made your decision, have a clear vision in your mind of where you want to be in the time frame you have chosen (realistic) you then have to be firm with yourself every time you feel that you are going to veer from the plan and indulge for a few days.

If you are half-hearted about the process it is effectively taking two steps forward and one step back..It is also likely that you will not complete the project because eventually it will fall by the wayside and end up as one of the high percentage of ‘diets’ that fail.

So the choice is yours when it comes to willpower. If you do not want to be where you are today with health and weight, then you need to make a firm decision to change, visualise where you want to be and stick to it.

Unlike surgically implanted willpower, the only side-effects to this type of attitude are a positive result and a great deal of self-satisfaction in a job well done.

Next time a natural helping hand which may reduce water retention and sugar cravings.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin


As always I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.. thanks Sally.

24 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column 2022 – The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Pre-Weight Loss – Willpower booster by Sally Cronin

  1. This is another great post, Sally. I think it is very difficult for some people to maintain weight loss, because they enjoy food and it also comforts them. There is a psychological element to overeating and I have great sympathy for people who struggle with their weight. I never have because I have the mind set of a soldier when it comes to self discipline but that has brought a different set of health issues down on my head. Balance is the answer I think.

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  2. Some great ideas here Sal. Every time I see that photo of you, I can’t even believe that was you because you are basically, very disciplined. But hey, I’ve been there, in a way. My bad eating habits when I was very young stemmed from no ‘food education’ at home. I must have lost and gained 3 people before I was 18 ( a story in itself), By the time I moved away from home, I’d been on every ridiculous diet to be had and moved away from home later that year, 50 pounds heavier than I should have been. First year on my own, no pressure ( except for myself), sensible calorie diet, I lost it all in less than a year. I also learned there were vegetables beyond corn and potatoes, lol. Like you, I watch the scales and have never gone beyond a 10 pound gain since then as that number shocks me right back into discipline. When I was younger my vanity kept the scales in check. Now, it’s my fears of ill health – and prescription drugs. Hugs ❤ xx

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  3. Another commonsense post, Sally…I know two people who have had that surgery… one ended up having it reversed back (would) you believe…had no end of health problems on both sides of the coin so much loose skin it was awful and the other wishing they hadn’t had it done…just reading your list and knowing what my friends are going through is enough to put me off of that course for life even if I ever thought of even contemplating that route…Pressed for Tuesday Hugs xxx

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  4. Excellent post, Sally! I chose a holistic approach to losing weight. I knew I would need to change my habits a bit to get the results I wanted. In my case, I was eating like a bird and had a low metabolism. With the help of a holistic doctor, I was able to reset my hypothalamus and revive my energy. It’s been 7 months and I haven’t gained any of the weight back. I will always watch what I eat, but I’m grateful I have a better sense of what agrees/disagrees with my body. 🙂

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